Summary: The second in a series. A look at the distinctive nature of Christians.
Quick Sermons for Permanent Fixes Lesson 2
Fix Your Cape
“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men. You are the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Years ago I collected comic books and the most valuable to have was Action Comics #1. It was the story of a bumbling news reporter named Clark Kent. For those of you who are familiar with the story you know that Clark Kent was an idiot. Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen would get in a fix and they would need real help. They always cried out for Superman. And Clark Kent would loosen his tie, find a phone booth and emerge with a red and blue jumpsuit and save the day. All he had to do was fix his cape and he was bulletproof. He could throw criminals around, take knives and bend them with his bare hand, stop bullets with his teeth. Jesus says in this passage that Christians need to fix their cape. When we will reveal who we really are we are faster than a speeding sin, more powerful than public unrighteousness and able to leap evil in a single bound. Not by our power, but by His grace. We are talking about Quick Sermons for Permanent Fixes and Jesus says we need to fix our cape. Show the world who we are. That is the point of this passage, Christians are to be distinctive.
It’s important to look at what Jesus doesn’t say before we look at what he does say. Jesus makes some basic assumptions that we need to look at.
First, He assumes the church and world are different. This is obvious because he says that his disciples will bring something different to the world that it needs. If there is nothing special about the church and her people then there is no reason to take a message to the world. Salt is a preservative and light dispels darkness.
That’s the second thing Jesus assumes. It is clear by the fact that he says the world needs salt and light. He assumes the world is rotten and dark. It’s ways do not work. It needs something different. Jesus assumes the world needs to be saved. You don’t call Superman unless there is trouble.
That’s what Jesus doesn’t say, now let’s look at what he does say. Jesus tells his followers that they are the salt of the earth. In those days there were no refrigerators and the only way to preserve meat and keep it from rotting was to pack it in salt. It stopped decay. One needs only pick up a copy of the daily newspaper or watch the news on television to see that society is rotten. Our morals are eaten away and it is up to Christians to stop it. That means something very specific. We are to be involved. Christians are to be on the front lines of the battle for America’s moral conscience. I have long struggled with wondering how politically active a Christian should be. I am not naturally bent that way, but this passage says that we should be in the parts of life that show decay to stop it.
By now we are all familiar with AIDS. I am just old enough to remember when the disease was first discussed. Something strange was happening to the immune systems of gay men. For whatever reasons, their body just stopped fighting diseases. And so the normal little stuff that we normally just shrug off, a sniffle, cold, sore throat, for these people became life threatening. Folks, when I look at America I think we have a case of spiritual AIDS. The moral immune system doesn’t fight like it should. Too many Christians have circled the wagons and formed their own little communes. The world is big, bad, and ugly so we don’t go into it at all. We don’t want our children to see that stuff so we shelter them from it. We become protectionist. But when all the Christians leave society, the moral immune system is gone and every little disease that is floating around can suddenly multiply and get worse. If we want to be salt in society, we must actively fight decay.
But preacher, you say, I’ve read the end. This old world just gets worse and worse until God burns it up. You’re right. But you know what – you will die someday but you run and work out anyway. Someday something will kill you, but you still watch what you eat. When you get sick, you go see the doctor and you take the medicine he gives you. Why? I know the end and everybody dies. Why fight it? Because you can’t be passive about your life. As a Christian you can’t be passive about the world. Be salt and stop decay.